Friday, July 29, 2011

George Greanias Will Survive

George Greanias, METRO CEO, was suspended yesterday by the METRO Board for viewing pornographic websites on his personal computer while at work. I have known Mr. Greanias since I was a student at Rice University, and he is a good and honorable man.

Mr. Greanias made a mistake. It was stupid to view pornography while in his office, and he is certainly paying the price of public embarrassment and humiliation in addition to the loss of a week's pay. But it was not illegal and it did not involve any loss of public funds -- there is no marginal cost to access an internal wireless access point or intranet.

METRO Chairman Garcia and Mr. Greanias are to be commended in the way they forthrightly handled the matter. The cardinal rule of politics is it is not the act that gets you, it is the cover up. When confronted with the evidence by his IT department, Greanias instructed them to take it to the Chairman of the Board. Similarly the Chairman and the Board addressed it in a forthright and transparent manner.

People make mistakes. Mr. Greanias made a grievous one. But, it does not wipe out the excellent job that he has done leading METRO or his lifetime of public service. He deserves a second chance, and in my political judgment he will get it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Texas House Update

Expectations are that there will be another large freshman class when the 83rd Texas House convenes in January 2013 rivaling in size the 37 new members for the 82nd House. Already I count 15 likely departures from the House.

Resignations/Retirements -- 4
HD 14 -- Fred Brown has resigned and a special election to fill his unexpired term will be held November 8.
HD 88 -- Warren Chisum is not seeking reelection and instead will run for the Railroad Commission seat currently held by Elizabeth Ames Jones, who is running for the U. S. Senate. Christi Craddick is also planning to run for Jones' Railroad Commission seat, which will set up a fascinating primary race to watch.
HD 115 -- Jim Jackson has announced his retirement and will not seek reelection.
HD 136 -- Speaker Pro Tem Beverly Woolley has decided to retire. Speaker Woolley, who was first elected in 1986, was widely regarded as performing superbly as Speaker Pro Tem this session and providing mature, seasoned leadership for the Texas House. She will be a major loss for the Houston area delegation.

Pairings -- 6
Twelve members are currently paired, which means that 6 will not return.
HD 2 -- Dan Flynn and Erwin Cain
HD 19 -- James White and Tuffy Hamilton
HD 34 -- Connie Scott and Raul Torres
HD 105 -- Rodney Anderson and Linda Harper-Brown
HD 113 -- Cindy Burkett and Joe Driver
HD 137 -- Scott Hochberg and Hubert Vo

Running for the Texas Senate -- 2
SD 10 -- Kelly Hancock (HD 91)
SD 11 -- Larry Taylor (HD 24)

Running for Congress -- 3
CD 25 -- Jason Isaac (HD 45) and Sid Miller (HD 59)
CD 35 -- Joaquin Castro (HD 125)

The list of voluntary House departures will grow if Senators Ogden, Shapiro, or Wentworth decide to retire, and if Mark Shelton and Vicki Truitt run for SD 10. When you throw in additional retirements, we are probably looking at 25 new House members before the voters render any decisions in the March 2012 primary or November 2012 general election.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Texas Senate Update

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst will announce for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. At this point, it does not appear probable that Sen. Dan Patrick will challenge him in the Republican primary. However, even with SD 7 (Patrick) moving off the radar screen, we are still likely looking at 5 open Republican seats in the March 2012 primary as follows:

  • SD 5 (Ogden) -- Rep. Charles Schwertner and Rep. Larry Gonzales are each making calls for support in the event Sen. Ogden retires, as is former Rep. Dan Gattis. At this point, I would give the edge to Schwertner.

  • SD 8 (Shapiro) -- Sen. Shapiro is likely to retire, and Rep. Ken Paxton appears to have the inside track to replace her.

  • SD 10 (Davis) -- Sen. Davis may or may not run in this seat, but redistricting has made it a Republican seat. Rep. Kelly Hancock appears to have the lead to replace her, although Rep. Mark Shelton and Rep. Vicki Truitt are also considering the race.

  • SD 11 (Jackson) -- Sen. Jackson is moving ever closer to deciding to run for CD 36. If he does, Rep. Larry Taylor will run for the Senate as may former Rep. Robert Talton. This would be the premier bout on the Texans for Lawsuit Reform vs. Texas Trial Lawyers Association/Steve Mostyn 2012 fight card. Taylor is the frontrunner.

  • SD 25 (Wentworth) -- I continue to believe that Sen. Wentworth will not seek reelection. If he does, expect TLR to go all out to defeat him in the primary.

Two other primary challenges are on the horizon.

  • SD 6 (Gallegos) -- Former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia is quietly mulling whether to run against Sen. Mario Gallegos, although no decision has been made or is necessarily imminent. Garcia reported $751,601 cash on hand as of June 30; Gallegos reported $71,190 cash on hand. They both use Robert Jara has their consultant, so it will be interesting to watch this unfold.

  • SD 9 (Harris) -- If Sen. Harris seeks reelection, TLR intends to defeat him the primary.
Gov. Perry will announce for President either later this month or in early August. If both he and Dewhurst were to win, the Texas Senate would select one of its members to serve as acting Governor and we would have a special election for that open Senate seat. In contrast to 2011 when only two new Senators were sworn in for the Regular Session, 2013 appears likely to have a substantial contingent of freshman Senators.

RESPONSE FROM DANIEL F. MCCLUNG, CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES, INC.: "Senator Mario Gallegos and former Commissioner Sylvia Garcia are longtime friends and strong political allies. They are also both decades-long clients and friends of this firm, and as its Senior Partner, I have spoken with both this morning and each has asked me to say to you and others that a race between them is not a possibility. Thanks for sharing with your readers."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Legislative and Personal Adjournment

After 170 days, the 83rd Texas Legislature has adjourned sine die. Sine die is Latin and means without day. In other words, the 83rd Legislature has adjourned with no appointed day for resumption.

I, too, am adjourning. Unlike the Legislature, I will resume blogging on July 18. There is an additional Senate retirement to report and two brewing Senate primary races.

Have a great, safe and happy 4th of July!